We were invited to Romania by the proprietor of Dagon Winery, Mihnea Vasilache. The winery is young and currently has 14 hectares of planted vineyards within the Dealu Mare DOC. Dagon doesn’t have a physical location as of yet, they make wines on the property of the beautiful Conacul Vinalia estate.
These wines are made with indigenous yeasts and utilize spontaneous fermentations. The owner has decided to start small, making wines from purchased grapes which are labeled as the Dagon Clan wines, while the estate wines will be made from their own vineyards. Currently, there are four Dagon Clan wines and in the fall the first estate wine will be released.
When we visited the property, we got a chance to taste every vintage from the Dagon Clan lineup – which spans back to 2014. Several local writers and bloggers joined us during the vertical tasting including our friend Alexandra from Macedonia21, in addition to Sandra and Adrian from The Winderers.
Dagon winery runs against the grain of most of the wines coming from the Dealu Mare region, which are often heavy and sometimes sappy. The Dagon winery focuses on mouth-watering acidity and drinkability. During the vertical tasting, it seems as this young estate has achieved it. Not all of the wines showed great but there were several standouts. It was evident in the later vintages that the winery has become more confident about its style.
There are a few wines in the Dagon Clan lineup that really shine, which shows the potential for these local grapes and the region. The first estate wine, the Dagon Estate Fetească Neagră Sandstone 2016 is outstanding. We can’t wait to see what the winery creates as its own vineyards are at full capacity.
Dagon Estate, Sandridge Fetească Neagră Reserve 2016
Wowzaaas, this wine shows the potential of Fetească Neagră. It’s a local red grape that I am not always been fond of. It is the first estate wine from Dagon Clan made with fruit from their own vineyards. The Dagon Estate Sandridge Fetească Neagră Reserve is aged in 500 L oak. The vines are grown in a strip of sandy soil.
This isn’t jammy like many other examples from Dealu Mare. It is more red fruit driven with other flavors like white pepper, yellow flower, and a touch of green herbs. It’s full-bodied with a peppery finish. The tannins are chewy and sweet. The grape offers flavors that are different and exciting to even the most adventurous drinker.